For the life of me I can’t understand the hesitance to do so.
Medicare allows a lot of that federal tax money you pay each year to come right back here into your local Montana community. What’s more, it ensures those counties that can’t pay for their own medical costs will have the money to do so.
Let’s take a look at Medicare and Obamacare in Montana today and see if we can figure out a sensible way to move forward.
Montana and Obamacare and Doing Nothing
Now, if Montana had gone along with it the feds would have paid us 100% of the costs for the full-expansion for the first 3 years of the program.
After those 3 years are up Montana would pay up to 10% of those new costs, never more.
By refusing to go along with the new healthcare program, Montana instead chose to take no federal money (remember, the money we already paid in taxes and that they want to give back to us) and the state (you, the taxpayer) have to make up that difference.
So in a way you’re being taxed twice for this. First, you paid taxes to the feds in Washington that will not be coming back. Second, that money you will be paying to the state for the next 3 years will now have to be spent on this.
The third option is that we let people die on the street. I saw that a lot when I was living in China for 5 years. There’s no medical safety net there, and it was common to see double, triple, and quadruple amputees sitting outside busy financial districts with metal bowls in their mouths asking for handouts.
Considering the uproar that healthy homeless people are causing in Missoula right now, I’d say this isn’t something we want.
Montana and Obamacare and Doing Something
We could have received billions of dollars in federal health care spending that would have gone to every single one of the 56 counties of Montana.
But what about our property taxes? I’m glad you asked.
Right now you’re paying for uninsured people, even though Montana refused Obamacare. You’re paying for them through your property taxes. Personally I’d rather spend that money on other things and let the feds pay the bill.
What could change is where that money comes from. Instead of the State losing it (and who better to spend Montana’s money than Montana?) the feds would lose it. Yeah, that’s your taxpayer money too, but right now it’s going to Vermont, New York, and California.
I don’t know about your communities, but in Missoula our two hospitals are losing money and laying off workers because they don’t have that federal money, and there’s no state money to take up that shortfall.
Our hospitals in Missoula are losing DSH payments, the federal Medicare dollars, and future property tax revenue that funds them will only grow less.
How many hospitals and county clinics across the state are doing the same?
The Obamacare Effect on Montana Counties
I find it especially unfortunate that many of these counties have representatives that voted against Obamacare expansion in Montana. Because of those people, overwhelmingly republican, those counties are losing money, jobs, and long-term prospects for their future.
Instead of helping voters, those representatives are hurting them. Not only that, but they’re happy about it. They pride themselves on it.
The National Association of Counties looked at this and figured Obamacare was a great idea for them because it would solve their budget problems. Right now those counties have to wait for money to flow down to them from the feds, and that’s slow.
With Obamacare the feds were ready to do a direct cash-stimulus into our economy, but we refused. What an insult.
We see how insulting it is to regular, hardworking Montana citizens, especially now that we’re into the new program. Things for our uninsured are worse, and medical costs are going up because we don’t have the federal money.
Folks, this is backward thinking.
Join with me in supporting Medicaid expansion in Montana. And let’s just pray to God that we can still get 3 years of funding, and not just 1 now.
After all, why should all of us have to pay for the shortsightedness of the few, the greed of the rich, and the disdain of those in power for you and I?